The Power of the POV
I was talking to a friend last week who was vexed. Why, he wondered, was his colleague, a man with over 40 years of experience in his sector, so reluctant to express a point of view? He clearly had one. If you sat him down of an evening, with a cognac and a good cigar, he undoubtedly could have talked all night about the state of the industry, its challenges and possible solutions. It would have been informed, intelligent and, most probably, fascinating. But ask him to express the same views to a regulator or a journalist, or write them in a blog post, and he would dry up. All very frustrating but not, in my experience, uncommon.
Why is it, though, that otherwise smart and experienced people are so reluctant? Maybe it is the worry of being wrong, publically, which holds them back? This is understandable but misguided. Opinion is the currency of the intelligent and the golden key which gets you into the debate, and the very fact that there is a debate suggests that there is no right (or wrong) answer. Taking part in the debate establishes the person as a thought leader, as a reference point, as someone who has delved deeply into his subject and has a solution, or has identified a problem, who can see an obstacle or a pathway. This is excellent positioning and most organisations are interested in this in some way or form. But it all starts with a point of view.